Costa Rica Real Estate Investment
Developers and Investors
The question is WHY. Why are developers and investors so active in Costa Rica? Why have international banks, global leaders in technology and software manufacturing and development, the planet’s most successful business leaders, and world-renowned luxury hotels all investing in Costa Rica?
Costa Rica, known as the 'Switzerland of the Americas' for its peaceful political climate, has been a stable, uninterrupted democracy for more than 100 years. Costa Rica distinguishes itself from other countries in the region by having no standing army, no guerillas, and no political prisoners. Moreover, the Costa Rican constitution, drafted in 1949, extends a wealth of rights and freedoms to citizens and foreigners alike. Among these rights are freedom of speech, press and assembly. As well, Costa Rican law demonstrates the country’s receptive attitude to foreign investment whether large or small. For instance, foreigners in most cases enjoy the same rights when it comes to owning property as do citizens.
The Costa Rican government boasts an established social system that provides universal access to health care and education. As a result, infant mortality rates compare with those in Canada and the United States, and literacy rates to those of Europe.
Infrastructure and International Access
International access to Costa Rica is available via two airports, one in the Central Valley, the other in Liberia. The Liberia Daniel Oduber airport is situated 20 minutes to 1 hour from the Pacific or “Gold Coast” beaches. Although the airport began receiving scheduled international flights only a few years ago, the increase in flights has been so dramatic that operators are already working on airport expansion plans. About 351,515 travelers passed through the Liberia airport in 2006, an 18% increase over 2005. And the increase show no signs of slowing down, since January 2007 saw an amazing 24% increase in passenger traffic over January 2006. Estimates demonstrate that an incredible 1 million passengers could be traveling through Liberia by 2017. Moreover, infrastructure, particularly roads, are undergoing much needed improvement throughout the country, and particularly along the Gold Coast. Most primary arteries in the process of being totally repaved to provide ease of access from the Liberia Airport to popular locations such as Brasilito, Flamingo, Potrero, and Tamarindo. Water supply, of concern in Costa Rica and around the globe, is being addressed as well. The Federal Government Water Department, AYA, is now taking a more proactive approach to water supply throughout the country.
Costa Rica Business and Banking News
Costa Rica continues to attract business investment critical to continued growth and security for property owners. For example, Intel now employees 3,000 workers who enjoy an average income double the national average. Furthermore, Intel is spending $700,000 each year on education programs and contributes to various eco and humanitarian projects. In the financial sector, Scotia Bank, G.E. Capital, H.S.B.C. and Citibank have all recently purchased stakes in various Costa Rican banks. As well, globally recognized entrepreneurs are investing in Costa Rica, such as Steve Case, the co-founder and former CEO and chairman of AOL, who also played a key role in the merger of AOL and Time Warner in 2000.
Costa Rica Hotel News
Nearly 3,500 deluxe and luxury hotel rooms are expected within the next three years, due to at least nine major hotel and resort projects either under way or in the planning stages. Focus is on the Gold Coast of Costa Rica - a stretch of spectacular coast that begins at Hacienda Pinilla, just south of Tamarindo, and run approximately 38 miles to the Peninsula Papagayo (location of the Four Seasons Hotel). Internationally renowned hoteliers are expected to infuse almost 1 billion dollars of capital into the region, and create 7,000 – 13,000 new jobs, as they develop their luxury, five star hotels and resorts. Included in the impressive list of investors that have either broken ground, applied for permits, or begun negotiations are: J.W. Marriot, Hyatt Hotels and Resorts, Regent International Hotels, Rosewood Hotels and Resorts, the Ritz Carlton, One and Only Resorts, Aman Resorts International, and Hilton Hotels.
Room Shortage a Plus for Condominium Developers and Buyers
The Instituto Costarricense de Turismo (ICT) predicts that Costa Rica requires nearly 49,000 rooms to provide accommodation for the influx of tourists. If estimates are correct, although the new hotels will alleviate the room shortage, the region will still come up short by over 45,000 rooms. This is a boon to condominium developers and investors, as most condominium buyers expect vacation rental income from the properties.
The Development Process
Options for developers and investors range from small parcels of land for construction of shops, offices, condominiums, and townhomes, to larger tracts for residential communities or commercial developments, to mega tracts for luxury resorts and hotels that include deluxe amenities such as golf courses, spas and equestrian centers. Offers to purchase development property always have a fairly long due diligence period to allow for the developer’s professional team of property consultants, legal experts, engineers, architects and builders to review all aspects of title, infrastructure, zoning restrictions, construction and marketing.
Our team is currently in the process of cataloguing all the development properties along the Gold Coast and beyond. Our agents include professionals such as CPA's, MBA’s and other business experts who can assist with the process. We can also recommend exceptional lawyers, who would assume the leadership of the independent professionals involved during the due diligence process. If you are considering investing or developing in Costa Rica, CONTACT US NOW for more information.
Chris Simmons, Canadian CPA, CRGAR, NAR, Founder Four Costa Rica Re/Max Offices